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And the opposites of these as of the opposite quality of soul?Clinias
Of the opposite quality.Athenian
What then? He who is indolent, careless and idle will be in our eyes what the poet described1—“a man most like to sting-less drones”?Clinias
A most true description.Athenian
That God has such a character we must certainly deny, seeing that he hates it; nor must we allow anyone to attempt to say so.Clinias
We could not possibly allow that.Athenian
When a person whose duty it is especially to act and care for [901b] some object has a mind that cares for great things, but neglects small things, on what principle could we praise such a person without the utmost impropriety? Let us consider the matter in this way: the action of him who acts thus, be he god or man, takes one of two forms, does it not?Clinias
Either because he thinks that neglect of the small things makes no difference to the whole, [901c] or else, owing to laziness and indolence, he neglects them, though he thinks they do make a difference. Or is there any other way in which neglect occurs? For when it is impossible to care for all things, it will not in that case be neglect of great things or small when a person—be he god or common man—fails to care for things which he lacks the power and capacity to care for.Clinias
Of course not.Athenian
Now to us three let these two men make answer, of whom both agree that gods exist, but the one asserts that they can be bribed, and the other that they neglect the small. [901d] First, you both assert that the gods know and hear and see all things,2 and that nothing of all that is apprehended by senses or sciences can escape their notice; do you assert that this is so, or what?Clinias
That is what we assert.3Athenian
And further, that they can do all that can be done by mortal or immortal?Clinias
They will, of course, admit that this also is the case. [901e] Athenian
And it is undeniable that all five of us agreed that the gods are good, yea, exceeding good.Clinias
Being, then, such as we agree, is it not impossible to allow that they do anything at all in a lazy and indolent way? For certainly amongst us mortals idleness is the child of cowardice, and laziness of idleness and indolence.Clinias
None, then, of the gods is neglectful owing to idleness and laziness, seeing that none has any part in cowardice.Clinias
You are very right.
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